Completed in 1914, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Paul Gerhardt-designed Cook County Hospital building was the symbolic heart of the Illinois Medical District healthcare innovation community. Vacant since 2002, the building had fallen into a severe state of disrepair and was threatened with demolition. SOM led a design-build collaboration for general contractor Walsh Construction, with Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates and interior designers KOO, to preserve, restore, and adapt the former hospital building to meet the changing needs of the neighborhood.
When the rehabilitation project began in 2018, deferred maintenance, exposure to the elements and vandalism had caused severe deterioration to the exterior and interior of the building. The restoration work focused on repairing the neoclassical exterior and updating secondary spaces to fit modern needs.
Since 1994, Landmarks Illinois has honored outstanding examples of excellence in Illinois historic preservation through its annual awards program. This year, the organization honored the transformation of the Cook County Hospital building with the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award for Adaptive Use.
The Cook County Hospital building officially reopens later this month as a multi-use venue that includes a Hyatt Place/Hyatt House Hotel and a Cook County medical office facility, with a food hall, daycare, and museum space.